Thursday, February 26, 2009

Art In The Open

They say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I can only hope "they" are right. It has been rough sailing for the past couple of months. The list of expenses leading up to my first visit to Canada Blooms seems to have developed a life of its own. It would be easy to let it get out of hand especially now that I've reached the point of no return. I have to keep reminding myself that the sales from the appearance at Canada Blooms will make it possible to pursue several new ideas.

I was recently accepted for a two day show in Huttonville ON scheduled for early April. And I will be returning to Art In The Open for my third season. Which runs all summer, Saturday mornings, right up into October. And just as in 2008 we'll be setting up in front of the Rose Theatre. This summer I also plan to attend the market at Lake Rousseau ON, which is held every Friday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Go Forth And Salvage

Today I have a project for you hands-on creative types. The gardeners among you will recognize the item depicted as a hose guide. And for those that are unfamiliar with a hose guide it's used to keep a trailing water hose from crossing into your garden bed and wreaking havoc with your plants. In this case it was made by combining discarded items such as a door knob and suitable sized metal rod. I would also suggest a coat of rust paint on the metal rod. It couldn't be simpler and the design possibilities are endless.

I always have my eyes open for old style hardware at garage sales and the "reduced bin" at my local big box store for this very reason. So go forth and salvage...hit some garage sales this weekend and see what you can find. Then create your own up-cycled masterpiece.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blooms Now Looming

Along with everything else that I'm trying to keep on top of these past few weeks I can't help thinking about the garden chores that will soon be upon me. The garden is certainly not a priority especially with Canada Blooms now looming clearly on the horizon. But instead of getting frustrated by the montage of plant imagery bullying it's way into my head I've come to accept it as part of the creative process.

And aside from the expense involved I don't consider the garden another chore to worry about. I look at it as more of an escape from anything that I might worry about. Working in the garden is definitely the best therapy I've ever found. It covers all the bases. And though it can be demanding on many levels I wouldn't have it any other way.

Today's picture is of the stately Coneflower. It might be a little slow to start but very rewarding once it gets going.

Friday, February 20, 2009


These past few months I've learned that no matter what path you travel there are always going to be bumps in the road. Though our destination is inevitable it's how we navigate the journey that will be remembered. And hopefully that journey was favorable but even if it was less than pleasant we will have more than likely gathered enough experience to be better prepared for our next one. Or in simpler terms, we make the best of what we have.

Today's pic shows how to take advantage of limited space. It shows a bird feeder with a planting surface. Not only does this allow for bird watching but you can now enjoy plants at eye level which is very appealing in a any sized garden.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We Were Here

Most of us want to be noticed, to let people know we are here. And then some are content in letting people know we were here. I think I fall more into the second category. More than likely that is why I enjoy creating new landscapes. A friend once commented to me, after viewing a completed yard, that I had created something that would be enjoyed for probably decades to come. Maybe even long after I'm gone. The trees would grow and the gardens will spread and my contribution, though long forgotten, will always be firmly rooted. With those insightful words I felt a huge rush that sealed my fate. I would be forever drawn to sculpting and manipulating my surroundings.

My pic today shows a scene from my collection of vintage landscape shots. I don't know the history of this image but my guess is that it's southern California in the early sixties. The reason I enjoy this shot so much is the story it tells. I like to imagine that the Landscaper was taking a photo of the completed water garden for the client and unwittingly caught the reflection of his truck in the window.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Wave

So just as I'm getting into the wave of milder weather (above zero) we get hit with another bout of snow and freezing rain. The last few days I started thinking about the garden and what work I needed to do upon the arrival of spring. And only this past weekend I watched as a family of birds were moving into one of our birdhouses. It's amazing really, how something as obvious as weather can affect your mood or outlook. I can't complain though. Even a few days of milder weather is a psychological lifeline within this extended deep freeze.

Today I'm posting this pic of a Nicotiana that I took in a clients garden. Hopefully it will help to get you thinking about the warm weather that's not too far off.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Age And Patina

I took a "short breather" this weekend. Well for Saturday anyway. During the last three weeks I've been seeing my work in my sleep and that can't be a good sign. Here are just a few of the mushrooms destined for Canada Blooms in March. What you can't see are the other nine hundred and seventy plus pieces lined up neatly in formation throughout the room.
These are just some of the new styles and finishes that were created pretty much on the fly. They stand about eight to ten inches tall and have a no-rust steel spike protruding from the base of the stem which enables you to mount these firmly in the garden. They can also be installed directly in large pots alongside your plants. Either way they are weather friendly so they stay outdoors year-round and will age and patina in time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gods Gargoyles And Such

Yikes, another brutal weather day and I'm still inside working on inventory. But my toiling ends today! Yes, I've reached my goal of...(well actually I fell short by 21 pieces but only because I ran out of material) approximately one thousand pieces. The actual breakdown is 979 sand cast mushrooms. Very bizarre to be in a room full of stone mushrooms.

Next on the list is 100 plaques of which I have started already. These are reproductions of greenmen, gods, gargoyles and such. Then it's onto the hand carved rock. I'll carve whatever I have in inventory which is probably only about twelve large pieces. I had a hard time sourcing these last season.

Today's pic is one of the reproduction gargoyle plaques. The original is from a french cathedral.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Naked In The Garden

It's been almost two weeks since my last post. I'm still in the thick of things - getting ready for Canada Blooms in March. I can almost hear the clock as the hours seem to whiz by. It's my first time at the show and not knowing what to expect I don't want to come up short. So in response I'm making as much as time and my budget will allow.

Whenever you create from scratch your product evolves constantly. Working as much as I have been affords me the time to experiment on the fly. I've come up with new finishes, colors and styles of everything. And even though rule number one is "never fall in love with your own work" I think it will be hard to give up some of the new pieces I've made for the Canada Blooms show.

Over the next couple of weeks I'm planning on posting some shots of the new pieces but for now today's pic is for all those free spirited thinkers out there. It's titled "naked in the garden".